Ellen Kozak

1. How and when you first met Harry Roseman
— I first met Harry at the wedding of our mutual friend Marianne Burke. We were seated for dinner next to each other. The wedding took place in Poughkeepsie, NY at Vassar College. That must have been around 1995 I believe. Probably, we spoke about many things but I recall talking about Pratt Institute, where Harry studied and I’d recently begun teaching, and of a former professor of Harry’s, the renowned Mary Buckley, who developed a course, Light, Color and Design, which continues to be taught at Pratt. It was also around that time that I recall hearing about Harry and his artwork from another mutual friend of ours now deceased, the writer Jerome Badanes.

2. A statement about your work and/or a brief autobiographical statement.
—— Between 1977 and 1979 I was a graduate student at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies and lived in Medford Mass. I went there to pursue video and also took advantage of AI classes and microbiology labs, where I used radioactive tracing. At MIT I experimented with the Paik/Abe video synthesizer residing at the Center. It was developed by Nam June Paik and Shuya Abe and then given to WBGH TV’s New Television Workshop which gave it to MIT. The synthesizer was a Rube Goldberg-like creation. It took input from cameras, used a scan-modulator and colorizer, and I used it for part of my thesis that focused on color and light. Video occupied me through 1985 at which time I returned from living in Japan and concluded the video projects I’d begun. Then, I started experimenting with drawings, monotypes and paintings. I’ve been a painter now for some 20-odd years. During the last 10 years, I begin each painting from direct observation of reflected light and color. My studio, on the bank of the Hudson River, lets me look at the River every day. It’s surface is like a giant lens (not unlike a camera’s) that visually synthesizes the varied changes in climate, temperature, humidity, & wind with phenomena like current, tide, and man made disturbances. I never expected that I would become a painter while at MIT but the trajectory of my work has taken me there. Unlike most visual artists that begin working with traditional materials, such as paint and canvas, and then get into computers and video, my work has gone in the opposite direction and my subject has not changed all that much.

—–April, 2008